On Sunday morning, President Donald Trump defended himself for his frequent golf outings in a post on Twitter. Trump has drawn a lot of criticism for golfing multiple times per week during his presidency, with many pundits suggesting that this reflects on his work ethic. The president argued that it is OK, not least of all because he plays "VERY fast."
"I know many in business and politics that work out endlessly, in some cases to a point of exhaustion," Trump tweeted on Sunday morning. "It is their number one passion in life, but nobody complains. My 'exercise' is playing, almost never during the week, a quick round of golf." Trump then added incorrectly: "Obama played more and much long... rounds, no problem" — according to a report by NBC News, President Barack Obama played 333 games of golf during his eight-year presidency, while Trump has already played over 270 games in his first three years.
...rounds, no problem. When I play, Fake News CNN, and others, park themselves anywhere they can to get a picture, then scream “President Trump is playing golf.” Actually, I play VERY fast, get a lot of work done on the golf course, and also get a “tiny” bit of exercise. Not bad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2020
"When I play, Fake News CNN, and others, park themselves anywhere they can to get a picture, then scream 'President Trump is playing golf,'" Trump continued. "Actually, I play VERY fast, get a lot of work done on the golf course, and also get a 'tiny' bit of exercise. Not bad!"
According to a report by The Guardian, if Trump's golfing habit were averaged and spread out evenly, he would have played golf every 4.6 days since he took office, casting doubt on his claim that he plays "almost never during the week." The timing of these trips has often been of note as well, with critics suggesting that Trump takes to the golf course to signal to his opponents when he is not interested in the issue of the day. Last month, Trump caused a stir by tweeting his promise to protect Washington, D.C. from "arsonists, anarchists, looters and agitators," only to spend the following day golfing in Virginia.
Tracking the president's golfing has become a small cottage industry among his detractors. A website called TrumpGolfCount.com aggregates all the reports and data on the president's golfing and tallies the total of his games, the hours he spends on them, and how much government funding has been spent on his transportation and security. At the time of this writing, the website shows that taxpayers have spent about $137 million for the president's golf trips.
There are plenty of more details to consider here, and a deep rabbit hole to explore. A big part of the controversy is that Trump owns many properties with private golf courses. While Obama did over 80 percent of his golfing at public or military golf courses, Trump has done 100 percent of his on private courses, potentially earning himself money through his government spending. Critics pointed out all of this and more in the replies to the president's tweet on Sunday morning.